Mental Health Awareness Week- Let’s Tackle Loneliness Together
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week topic is loneliness, but what can we do to tackle loneliness together?
Did you know that 1 in 4 Adults feel lonely some or all of the time?
Loneliness can have a negative impact on your mental health especially if you experience those feelings for a long time which could increase risks of certain mental health problems developing such as Depression, anxiety and low self esteem.
What Causes Loneliness?
- Loneliness has many different causes, which vary from person to person. We don’t always understand what it is about an experience that makes us feel lonely.
- For some people, certain life events may mean they feel lonely, such as:
- Experiencing a bereavement
- Going through a relationship break-up
- Retiring and losing the social contact you had at work
- Changing jobs and feeling isolated from your co-workers
- Starting at university
- Moving to a new area or country without family, friends or community networks
Bringing the Community Together
Many people often feel lonely but don’t tend to share or express this feeling which can make it hard to identify, but it is a very common feeling among all ages. Such as with the last few years, lockdown restrictions over the pandemic caused many people to struggle with loneliness due to limitation of social contact with others.
Across the UK, charities and other organisations have been working towards helping people’s mental health and getting people reconnected again.
Most accessible ways the UK are tackling loneliness
‘Happy to chat’ benches have been popping up across the UK and Ireland as local councils and towns also unite to help tackle loneliness.
These chatty benches bring the opportunity for the local community to engage with each other and give a chance for those feeling alone or lonely to have a conversation with someone. Even a conversation with a stranger can lift someone’s mood and make them feel they’re not completely alone. To identify a ‘Happy to Chat’ bench they are usually marked with a sign saying just that! with ‘sit here if you don’t mind someone stopping to say hello’.
Why not see if your local town or village have any ‘Happy to Chat’ benches when you’re next out.
The Chatty Cafe Scheme
Cafe’s across the Uk are also tackling loneliness by getting involved in the Chatty Cafe scheme. This means participating cafe’s will have ‘Chatter&Natter‘ tables within their venues, which provide opportunities for the public to engage with one another similar to the benches, but with coffee!
‘A Chatter & Natter table creates a space for people to talk; whether it is for five minutes while you drink a brew, or an hour of good conversation. We’re not trying to build friendships – just simple interactions to combat loneliness and to just maybe have a big impact on someone’s day. Although the aims of the scheme are to reduce loneliness and get people chatting we decided not to use the word loneliness on any of the publicity that is displayed in cafes. Instead it is very positive and focuses on bringing people of all ages and from all walks of life together.’-Chatty Cafe Scheme UK
With over 900 cafes across the UK participating within the scheme and Costa Coffee being their official partner with 440 of their stores having Chatter & Natter tables, its more easy than ever to access this great scheme and get connected to your local community! Find a Chatty table near you: https://thechattycafescheme.co.uk/find-a-chatty-table/